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iio.'^ii 



THE 

COMMERCIAL FUTURE 
OF BAGHDAD 



LONDON 

THE COMPLETE PRESS 

WEST NORWOOD S.E. 

^9^7 






Walter Clinton Jackson Library 

The University of North Carolina at Greensboro 
Special Collections & Rare Books 



World War I Pamphlet Collection 



With the Compliments 

of 

Professor W. Macneile Dixon 
(University of Glasgow). 



BucKiisrGHAM Gate, 
London, S.W. 1. 
England. 



THE COMMERCIAL FUTURE 
OF BAGHDAD 



The proclamation of General Sir Stanley Maude, 
the victor of Baghdad, to the people of that 
ancient city of the East is certain to make a 
profound impression. He points out to the 
Arabs that the British troops have come, not as 
conquerors or enemies, but as liberators, who 
will help the people to restore their land, so long 
made desolate by their oppressors, the Turks, 
to something like its old-time prosperity and 
splendour, * 

An important statement on the future of 
Mesopotamia and the splendid trade prospect 
that has now opened out before, not only the 
people of that land, but the merchants of the 
world, has been made by Lieut. -Col. Sir Mark 
Sykes, a member of the British House of 
Commons, who has devoted much study to racial 
and pohtical problems of the Near East. 

He is convinced that with the removal of the 
paralysing hand of the Turk, who has for so 
long kept a strangle-hold on the development of 
the fertile land and its peoples, will come a great 
and steady improvement in its fortunes. 



4 COMMERCIAL FUTURE OF BAGHDAD 

" All the merchants in the world will profit/' 
said Sir Mark, " It will mean eventually putting 
down something like a new Hamburg in the 
world. Money will be made there, and the Arab, 
if the past is any criterion, will acquire European 
tastes, and will want to buy things. 

" If the Arab in the fourth century liked 
Corinthian columns so much that he built them 
in the desert, there is every reason to beUeve 
that he wiU have similar ambitions again, now 
that he is to be a free man, able to respond to 
the high intellectual impulses which have always 
been a characteristic of his race. 

" Baghdad depends for its prosperity upon two 
factors — its position as a junction of main routes, 
and its central situation in a very rich agri- 
cultural area. It has a double advantage as a 
junction of routes, because it is a place where 
the rivers Euphrates and Tigris come very close 
to one another, two big rivers which, even under 
the primitive conditions of the present time, 
carry an . enormous amount of current-borne 
traffic, by means of rafts on the Tigris, and barges 
and rafts on the Euphrates, 

" On the Euphrates comes the water-borne 
transport from Aleppo down to within thirty 
miles of Baghdad. 

" On the Tigris comes the water-borne trans- 
port of Diarbekir. Baghdad has the only caravan 
route from Central Persia, and as the Tigris is 
fuUy navigable from Basra, Baghdad is almost 



COMMERCIAL FUTURE OF BAGHDAD 5 

a seaport, an important point when one considers 
that goods come cheaper by water than by rail. 

" With the development of river traffic, it wiU 
be cheaper to send goods to Mosul via Baghdad 
than from the Mediterranean. 

" Then, of course, there is the enormously 
important factor of the Baghdad Railway. 
Primarily intended to be built for commerce, 
it has, in the hands of the Germans, become 
strategic, with a view to menacing India. 

" Mindful of the British Fleet, they kept as 
far away from its influence as possible. They 
could not avoid going near it at Alexandretta, 
but beyond that place, instead of going the 
natural way along the Euphrates valley, they 
went round by Mosul. 

"It is a railway which will build itself. It 
will be in easy communication with the Mediter- 
ranean, and we may witness a return of what 
was the overland route of the Middle Ages, a 
route which died out when Vasco da Gama 
rounded the Cape, a discovery almost as fatal 
to Middle Eastern culture as the destruction of 
Baghdad by the Turanian hordes. 

" Railway construction across the Syrian desert 
will be so easy that probably Damascus will be 
connected with the Euphrates. There could be 
an open road across the flat desert for motor- 
cars, and there is plenty of water if only it can 
be stored. All over that desert you see remains 
of ancient dams, and there is no reason why it 



6 COMMERCIAL FUTURE OF BAGHDAD 

should not have considerable reservoirs as it 
had in the past. 

" The development of Baghdad has been 
checked by the bad sanitarj'' conditions, causing 
frightful outbreaks of cholera, and by the artificial 
restrictions imposed by the Turks. For the last 
forty years practically such of the male population 
as could not pay exemption were carried off for 
long terms of service with the colours. Fifteen 
per cent, never survived the life in the pestilential 
barracks, and the rest returned broken men. 

" An Enghsh medical missionary at Mosul told 
me that if he could have charge of the sanitation 
of the place the population would be doubled in 
fifteen years, because there is such a high birth- 
rate. 

" Remove the restrictions, and the population 
of Baghdad, which was about 140,000 before the 
war, and practically a commercial population, 
would be doubled also. 

" Government, as a rule, is a plus quantity, 
but Turkish Government is always a minus 
quantity. During the last years of the eighteenth 
century in Northern Mesopotamia, when the 
country was in a condition of anarchy, tempered 
by feudalism, the population was more than it 
is now. 

" An increasing population in the near future 
means that more labour will be available for 
irrigation works. One does not want to raise 
false hopes — but there is no doubt that the land 



COMMERCIAL FUTURE OF BAGHDAD 7 

is the richest in the world- The water-supply 
is there, but there is need for great organization. 
You can cultivate as fast as you can irrigate, 
and irrigate as fast as you can get labour. 

" The people will go there gradually, but we 
must not imagine that, ten years after the awaken- 
ing, Mesopotamia will have become as great as 
it was a thousand years ago. It will take much 
longer than that, if it ever does reach to such 
affluence again. 

" It should be remembered that the Arabs are 
just as susceptible to the influence of education 
as any people in the world, and that is an enor- 
mous factor. 

" Mesopotamia has always been a centre of 
intellectual life, and I will say this for the Turks, 
that with all their vices they did a very great 
deal, especially under Abdul Hamid, for educa- 
tion. It was part of their plan of Turkeyfjdng 
the people. 

" Those who were trained in the Government 
schools are capable of holding their own with the 
educated of any other country. There is no 
reason why Baghdad and other centres^ should 
not turn out just as good men in the professions 
and in commerce as the European countries. 

" People were studying Plato in Baghdad in 
the eighth century. 

" Turkey is the only nation which has not been 
\ source of profit to the Arab, and that is because 
the Turk only looks for conquest. The Intel- 



8 COMMERCIAL FUTURE OF BAGHDAD 

lectual marriage of the Arab with the Turk is the 
only union the Arab has made which has been 
sterile. 

" Now the Arab is once more coming into 
contact with European civilization, it will be as 
well to bear in mind that he is a Semite, with all 
the inteUigence and resource of that race. 

" There are rich oilfields near by, and the 
* Black Country ' of Mesopotamia may rise 
here, and the demands on European manufac- 
turers for machinery and other things should be 
enormous." 



Printed in Great Britain by the Complete Press, 
West Norwood, London S.E.